Josh Brolin is having a hell of a year.
The veteran actor has appeared in two superhero blockbusters already in 2018 – Avengers: Age of Ultron and Deadpool 2 – and has followed up his big screen success with another must-see film.
Brolin reprises his role of Matt Graver in Sicario: Day of the Soldado – the sequel to surprise 2015 hit Sicario.
Joining him again is Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro (who also appeared in Avengers this year) as the mysterious Alejandro.
Emily Blunt and Daniel Kaluuya do not return for the sequel.
Italian director Stefano Sollima takes the reigns from original director Denis Villeneuve for Day of the Soldado, and while he doesn’t have quite the visual flair of the Oscar-nominated Canadian, he does bring a great sense of pacing and moral ambiguity to the film.
The movie follows Graver and Alejandro and they attempt to start a war between the Mexican drug cartels after the US government discovers cartels are helping terrorists cross the border into Texas.
They are given free reign to ‘get dirty’ and do whatever it takes to dismantle the cartels, which have been labelled terrorist organisations.
The sequel continues the beautiful, desert cinematography the original did so well.
It also ups the ante on the violence, showing just how dangerous the Mexican/US border region can be.
Up-and-coming star Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight) is exceptional as the kidnapped daughter of a cartel boss, and easily goes toe-to-toe with the intense Del Toro.
Del Toro is definitely the MVP in this film, bringing a quiet, steely strength to Alejandro and expanding on the mystery he brought to Sicario.
He delivers a powerhouse performance and really dominates the last third of the film.
Writer Taylor Sheridan has again proven, with his fourth screenplay, that he has a solid grip on dark, violent stories.
There is no doubt that there will be high expectations for whatever Sheridan decides to pen next.
Anyone who loved Sicario is sure to also love Day of the Soldado – it’s the rare sequel that is worthy of its original.